If you are the type of person who has a million ideas, yet very few come to fruition, this post is for you. If you are a person who never has any ideas, you might want to read this one instead.
When we are at our most creative, we can cook up ideas faster than a George Foreman Grill. We think of a dozen great book ideas or 50 topics for a podcast in a matter of seconds. Our arm gets tired from patting ourselves on our back as we have all these brilliant thoughts bubbling up in our mind. But the only problem is that we never do anything about them.
The ideas are rushing to exit our brain to get onto paper, but they get held up. At first glance, we may think the exit is too obstructed; something must be in the way. However, maybe the problem is that the exit is too wide open.
According to Scientific American, a study by a group of Japanese researchers found that wide-open exits are “not always the most efficient at speeding pedestrians through. A judiciously placed obstacle, such as a column, can actually reduce bottlenecking and evacuation times.”
The belief is that during an emergency, a crowd sees a wide-open exit and everyone bolts towards the opening. With people coming from all angles, everyone crashes into one another and limits the actual space for people to squeeze through.
The researchers concluded that adding an obstacle in the way of the exit may reduce the probability and impact of conflicts. It forces everyone to slow down and prevents the exit from becoming clogged.
This study was all about physical exits, and had nothing to do with having too many ideas in ones head, but I think the general idea is similar.
When I come up with some new ideas for a children’s book, my brain feels like all the ideas are fighting to come out first. More often than not, I can’t decide which one to let out, so they all just crash into one another.
Maybe the trick is to create a mental obstacle. Rather than have a wide-open exit, I might want to have the ideas weave around some mental pillars like: length of the story, age of the reader, or how much time it will take to write vs. how much time I actually have.
This will probably slow things down at first, but it may just prevent my brain from getting clogged and it will help the most well thought out ideas escape first.